Contemplative Spirituality

Contemplative spirituality can be defined as a life of faith in interior submission to God and pervading all one's motivations and behavior; a life of prayer and action prompted by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit; a disposition not limited to devotional practices, rituals, liturgy, or other particular acts of piety or service to others, but rather the catalyst that integrates, unifies and directs all one's activities. Gerald May, M.D., expresses it this way: "The Christian expression is in the two great commandments: to love God with one’s whole self and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Theologically, spirituality is our desire for love’s fulfillment which, in turn, is our response to God’s loving us first (1 Jn 4:19). We participate in the divine love that created us "so that we might seek God" (Acts 17:27). Further, the Christian contemplative tradition views God as always active in our lives, inviting, drawing and empowering us towards deepening love. ... In a Christian context, because we "live and move and have our being" in God (Acts 17:28), being present to things as they are involves encountering the Christ who "fills the whole creation" (Eph. 1:23). In other words, Christian contemplation means finding God in all things and all things in God. Brother Lawrence, the 17th century Carmelite friar, called it "the loving gaze which finds God everywhere.""

Why Meditation/Contemplation?

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I've been practicing meditation/contemplation for more than twenty years. As of late, I am periodically troubled by the question "why am I doing this, i.e., contemplation?" The question is in the context of why God wants us to perform what appears to be an act outside of what would be a normal life, i.e., an artificial act. Why is it needed and for what purpose or ultimate value? 

Q:  I've been practicing meditation/contemplation for more than twenty years. As of late, I am periodically troubled by the question "why am I doing this, i.e., contemplation?" The question is in the context of why God wants us to perform what appears to be an act outside of what would be a normal life, i.e., an artificial act. Why is it needed and for what purpose or ultimate value?  I still persist but my doubting often makes me think about abandoning my practice and just live.

Centering Prayer and Embodied Contemplative Practices – My Experience

Series: 
Voices of Community

The article in the January 2018 e-bulletin, "Contemplative Movement" by Robin Gates, affirmed so many experiences that I observed during the first few years of my Centering Prayer practice. I noticed that my body began asking for movement as never before during reading, working on the computer, attending conferences, etc.

The article in the January 2018 e-bulletin, "Contemplative Movement" by Robin Gates, affirmed so many experiences that I observed during the first few years of my Centering Prayer practice. I noticed that my body began asking for movement as never before during reading, working on the computer, attending conferences, etc. My body always was asking me to move, even in a small way.

Contemplative Movement

Series: 
Voices of Community

Heaven and Earth converge in our bodies. The body is our teacher. It gives us messages and grounds us in the sacred present. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It longs and prays for our hospitality, to be seen, heard, integrated, and welcomed back into wholeness. One way to offer hospitality is through contemplative movement ...

 

Heaven and Earth converge in our bodies. The body is our teacher. It gives us messages and grounds us in the sacred present. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It longs and prays for our hospitality, to be seen, heard, integrated, and welcomed back into wholeness. One way to offer hospitality is through contemplative movement, a practice that has evolved over the course of my relationship with movement and spirituality.

The Original Blessing

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

... When I asked what made them want to be baptized by full immersion, I fully expected them to say “because they love God”; instead the reply was a simple childish “so we don’t have to go to the H—- place." I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond in a simple explanation, without undermining their parent's faith. How can I explain one-ness and original blessing to them?

 

Q: My grandchildren are being raised Baptist Faith. When I asked what made them want to be baptized by full immersion, I fully expected them to say “because they love God”; instead the reply was a simple childish “so we don’t have to go to the H—- place." I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond in a simple explanation, without undermining their parent's faith. How can I explain one-ness and original blessing to them?

Waking Up and Growing Up

Series: 
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas has asked the Centering Prayer community to spend the next year going back to basics. For much of the past 12 years I have been revisiting Thomas’ teachings on Centering Prayer and the Christian spiritual journey by serving at least one long Centering Prayer intensive retreat a year in which I prepare by reading both Open Mind, Open Heart and Invitation to Love. This may seem a little over board in terms of preparation but I find each yearly reading brings me closer to absorbing the materials with my heart rather than my head.

 

How to Create a Weekly Intensive Retreat Experience: “The Mini Midweek Retreat”

Series: 
Voices of Community

During one of the retreats while I was in the silence of my room, I began to think about several individuals in my Centering Prayer Group who, because of medical problems, caregiving responsibilities, or lack of funds, would never be able to attend an eight-day silent retreat.

 
For many years, the Phoenix Chapter of Contemplative Outreach has partnered with the Trappistine sisters at Santa Rita Abbey to use their retreat facilities for two, eight-day intensive retreats a year, usually in January and February. This intimate retreat center next to their abbey is located close to the Santa Rita Mountains in southeast Arizona.
 

Reflections on the September Conference

Series: 
Voices of Community

There is a new and powerful movement of the Spirit in our community.  We are evolving toward a new level of consciousness – not only as individual practitioners, but as a contemplative community.  Our challenge is to let go of a business model of governance and allow a new framework of attitudes and practices to blossom in its place.

Greetings Contemplative Outreach Community,